________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 14. . . .March 6, 2009

cover

One Hundred Shining Candles.

Janet Lunn. Illustrated by Lindsay Grater.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1990/2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-889-7.

Subject Heading:
Christmas stories, Canadian (English).

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Barbara Taylor.

***½ /4

   

excerpt:

I have seen one hundred candles lighted to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

 

As the school teacher in Janet Lunn's book One Hundred Shining Candles tells his students of the marvellous sights he has seen in Christmas's past, 10-year old Lucy and her brother Dan are fascinated at the thought of "one hundred candles" lighting up a room.

      Fans of Janet Lunn will be delighted with this book, aimed at middle elementary school readers, for its accuracy, gentleness and vivid portrayal of a Christmas in Upper Canada over one hundred years ago.

     The main characters in the story, Lucy and Dan, are well-meaning children wanting to surprise their parents by making one hundred candles to light up their house at Christmas. Their well laid plans go slightly awry, and young Dan comes up with a plan that delivers a happy, though not quite as spectacular, Christmas event.

Lucy decided they must build the fire behind the house so Ma would not see the smoke. She bustled about telling Dan what to do and how to do it.

internal art     The making of the candles involves some secrecy and what we would consider from our 21st century viewpoint to be very dangerous behaviour -- namely lighting fires and cooking tallow (which nearly is disastrous) and later running to a neighbour's house by crossing a frozen river. I think both incidents make for great discussions at home and in school about how childhood differs century to century. Things considered part of day-to-day life one hundred years ago are viewed warily today and perhaps vice versa.

      The book shows readers that gifts need not be expensive or store bought. Sometimes handmade gifts are the most cherished. One Hundred Shining Candles would be a wonderful book to include in a unit on festivals where gifts are made to take home.

      Lindsay Grater's simple but detailed watercolour and graphite sketches are gentle, warm and evocative of a bygone era.

Highly Recommended.

Barbara Taylor, an Early Childhood teacher and freelance writer, is presently enrolled in the MLIS program at the University of Western Ontario.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW | TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - March 6, 2009.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME